Aiwa CDC-MP3 head unit | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Aiwa CDC-MP3 head unit


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April 25, 2000
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City, State
Houston, Texas
Year, Model & Trim Level
2008 JK
Aiwa CDC-MP3 head unit and custom stealth faceplate

Well, finally got around to posting pics of one of my newest toys :)

After looking at a bunch of different MP3 head units and evaluating price, functions, and availability, I decided to go with this unit from Aiwa. I ordered it from Crutchfield along with the mounting kit and wiring harnesses for $315 after shipping. The install took about 3 hours, most of that for running the amp bypass.

The crutchfield harness had to run from the factory amp behind the rear passenger panel all the way up to the head unit. The entire panel had to be popped off, which took about 30 minutes in itself, not counting the trip to Sears to get a torx50 socket. The wires were run behind that panel, under the carpet and door sill plate, under the kickpanel, and through the dash to the HU. The install of the head unit iself was pretty easy, except for the really poor Aiwa and Crutchfield mounting instructions. But I got the head unit in and here are the pics (but pretty bad ones):

Dead Link Removed


The unit works really well. I does skip, albeit rarely, on some washboard roads. However, it never skips when playing an MP3 disc. So far I've made one MP3 only disc for the unit which holds about 10 hours of tunes. Sound is better from MP3s than from CDs, even if the MP3 was ripped directly from the comparo CD. The unit is tag compatible and can display artist and title id tags. The unit also has aiwa h-bass which is one of the best bass boosting technologies I've ever heard. It also has stage settings for the driver or front passenger.

The unit works really well with my RF 2way 4 corners and my RF 100(168)a2 amp powering 2 isobaric 10" JLw1s. The subs are still powered off the rear channel splice I did before I had the new head unit. It sounds better this way than off the RCA preamps from the HU.

I wasn't really happy with the vulnerability of the new HU even with the detachable faceplate, so I have a kinda stealth if not gimpy solution. A friend of mine had an old Ford HU that didn't work, so I took it's faceplate off and now I have a "stealth" faceplate that I can pop on when I park. I know it looks kinda gimpy, but it looks real from outside the truck.



Sorry for the long post, but I hope I got all the info in!

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I had to laugh at that faceplate...if you ever get another one hook me up. I'll give you a few bucks. I dont think anyone would steal that thing. 2 of my friends have the same deck. It does skip on the mp3's. you cant expect a ton out of a deck that can hold over 150 songs.

Just go to the local junkyard and find a crappy stock radio. I don't have any readily available and by the time I got it and shipped it etc, it would cost the same for you. BTW, you can see that I took a tape and cut about 1/4 off the end of it and stooper-glued it into the deck to act as a handle.

Alec, I too am looking at going with an MP#/CD HU. Would you please explain your thoughts on selecting this unit over others?

Also how does the remote work?


Alec, sweet move with that stock faceplate!! I love the cassette as the handle. How do you get it to stay on the dash??

I went with the Aiwa unit for a few reasons (in no particular order):

1) I read many online reviews of this unit and all the critics like it, and users either love it or hate it. Never having a bad experience with Aiwa, I supposed the haters are just dumb :)
2) Many of the other brands that make MP3 units I've had bad experiences with: Kenwood, Pioneer, JVC, Sony. Plus, most of their units cost more.
3) Price
4) Availability. I was originally going to go with the RFX9000 unit, but it's not out yet
5) Looks good
6) Features: I like the Hbass and sound stage features.
7) Expandability: 2 preamp outs and CD changer capability

I haven't hooked up the remote because I don't need it (the radio is close enough) and it would interfere with my driving since it is steering wheel mounted.

Stephen, I get the faceplate to stay on with brute force :) Push it onto the dash enough and it will stay!

i have yet to read reviews of any in-dash mp3 players, but just thought i would share my thoughts on aiwa..

i purchased one of their HU's about a year ago and it was complete crap. i'll admit that i skimped and bought a lower end model, planning to move up to the mp3 unit when it became available. i would say it put out about 10watts/channel, not 25 like they claimed. also, the construction felt and looked cheap. unhappy, i went to our local stereo store and asked about aiwa. the guy told me they were nothing but trouble and they don't stock them anymore because too many of them started on fire!! that was enough for me to send mine straight back to crutchfield and order my blaupunkt with the ability to plug an mp3 player or minidisk palyer in. bottom line, i would give a thumbs down to aiwa from my experience and from what i've heard from professionals.(btw alec, i must admit that i like the way yours looks though!)

i haven't had any first hand experience with any mp3 HU's, but i'm damn sure not going to buy one until the 2nd or 3rd generations are that point i'll probably also get something that plays dvd's as well, with a pop-out screen...but that's a couple years off:)

I guess everyone hears different stuff about different brands. Personally, I used to hear some stuff about Aiwa car audio, but haven't heard anything bad in the last few years. I've had the unit for over a week with absolutely no problems, so we'll see what happens.

Many people swear by Kenwood and Sony products, both of which my brother had in his X. Every Kenwood or Sony component he tried broke. Panasonics can be good, but are sometimes made of inferior materials. JVC sometimes doesn't spend enough on R&D of their software, so the products crash due to programming bugs. I could go on, but you get the point. The reviews for this specific unit were good, so I got it :)

But it's just like any product: you do the research and weigh the pros and cons. And you know what? If something happens with the unit, back to Crutchfield it goes!